Instant Replay: Giants' comeback falls short in Game 1 loss


Instant Replay: Giants' comeback falls short in Game 1 loss


SAN FRANCISCO A couple of two-run homers by David Freese and Carlos Beltran, and a shutdown performance by the Cardinals' bullpen led St. Louis to a 6-4 win over the Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night at AT&T Park.
Starter Madison Bumgarner was generally ineffective in just 3.2 innings of work, while the Giants' offense scored four runs in the fourth inning but none in the other eight combined. San Francisco managed to keep the game interesting with a furious fourth after staking the Cardinals an early 6-0 lead, but a combination of six St. Louis relievers after starter Lance Lynns exit baffled the Giants hitters.
The Giants are still looking for their first home win of the postseason, after dropping the first two games of the NLDS to Cincinnati. They fell to 4-2 all-time in Game 1 of the championship series.
Starting pitching report
Neither the Giants Bumgarner nor St. Louis Lynn made it through the fourth inning, although Lynn was charged with just four runs to Bumgarners six.
Bumgarner was pulled in the fourth after he watched Beltrans two-out, two-run homer clear the fence in left field. All six Cardinals runs were earned, and came on eight hits surrendered by the San Francisco starter, who walked one and struck out two. It was a battle all night for Bumgarner, who also surrendered a two-run blast to Freese in the second inning that seemed to leave the yard in the blink of an eye.
Lynn, on the other hand, cruised through his first three before unraveling in the bottom of the fourth. Marco Scutaro got the Giants first hit to lead off the inning, but Lynn quickly struck out Pablo Sandoval and got Buster Posey to fly out to right. The Giants got four straight hits after that, though, and Lynns night was over after 3.2 innings, four earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts.
Bullpen report
The Giants' bullpen was just as effective as the Cards, keeping St. Louis off of the board for 5.1 innings after Bumgarners exit. George Kontos came on in relief of Bumgarner in the fourth, and retired the one batter he faced. Tim Lincecum pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth before giving way to Jeremy Affeldt, while Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively.
Mitchell Boggs worked a 1-2-3 eighth before Jason Motte recorded the save, giving up only a two-out single to Angel Pagan. Edward Mujica was credited with the win.
At the plate
Gregor Blanco had the biggest hit for the Giants in the fourth, when his two-out triple to the deepest part of the field in right-center plated Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt. That was the highlight of the night for the Giants, however, who didnt score after that.
Scutaro was the only Giants player with more than one hit on the night, going 2-for-5.
St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso was 2-for-4, and no other Cardinals player had more than one hit.
In the field
Each clubs second baseman made a key defensive play.
After Lynn was pulled in the fourth inning in favor of Joe Kelly, Descalso kept the damage to a minimum when he made a diving stop on a grounder by Pagan and flipped it to shortstop Pete Kozma for a force out of Aubrey Huff, stranding Blanco on third.
With one on and one out in the top of the fifth and Lincecum pitching, Scutaro helped start a double-play on a sharp grounder up the middle by Freese.
Blancos sliding catch in the top of the sixth on Skip Schumaker with two out was arguably the defensive play of the game.
Sandoval committed the only error in the game on a bad throw to first base on Yadier Molinas grounder with one out in the top of the eighth.
Up next
Ryan Vogelsong will get the ball for the Giants opposing St. Louis Chris Carpenter in Game 2 on Monday, before the series shifts to Busch Stadium for games three through five.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.